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Cloud Computing: A Simple Description.

In the most simple terms, cloud computing is taking services (“cloud services”) and moving them outside an organisations firewall on shared systems. Applications and services are accessed via the Web, instead of via your local hard drive.

In cloud computing, the services are delivered and used over the Internet and are paid for by the cloud customer (your firm) — typically on an “as-needed, pay-per-user” business model. The cloud infrastructure is maintained by the cloud provider, not the individual cloud customer.

Cloud computing networks are large groups of servers and cloud service providers that usually take advantage of low-cost computing technology, with specialised connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Virtualisation techniques are often used to maximise the power of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet). Clouds can be classified as public, private or hybrid.

 

What are the advantages of The Cloud?

These are many and varied but here is a general list of the accepted benefits:

  • Companies need only pay for the storage they actually use, typically an average of consumption during a month. This does not mean that cloud storage is less expensive, only that it incurs operating expenses rather than capital expenses.
  • Businesses using cloud storage can cut their energy consumption by up to 70% making them a more green business. Also the vendors are dealing with higher levels of energy and are better equipped to manage it – keeping costs down.
  • Organisations can choose between off-premises and on-premises cloud storage options, or a mixture of the two options, depending on relevant criteria that is complementary to initial direct cost savings potential; for instance, continuity of operations, disaster recovery, security, and records retention laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Storage availability and data protection is intrinsic to object storage architecture, so depending on the application, the additional technology, effort and cost to add availability and protection can be eliminated.
  • Storage maintenance tasks, such as purchasing additional storage capacity, are offloaded to the responsibility of a service provider.
  • Cloud storage provides users with immediate access to a broad range of resources and applications hosted in the infrastructure of another organisation via a web service interface.
  • Cloud storage can be used for copying virtual machine images from the cloud to on-premises locations or to import a virtual machine image from an on-premises location to the cloud image library. In addition, cloud storage can be used to move virtual machine images between user accounts or between data centres.
  • Cloud storage can be used as natural disaster proof backup, as normally there are 2 or 3 different backup servers located in different places.

Why use The Cloud?

cloud computingMany businesses large and small use cloud computing today instead of traditional on-site alternatives. There are a number of reasons why cloud computing is so widely used among businesses today:

  • Reduction of costs – unlike on-site hosting the price of deploying applications in the cloud can be less due to lower hardware costs from more effective use of physical resources.
  • Universal access – cloud computing can allow remotely located employees to access applications and work via the internet.
  • Up to date software – a cloud provider will also be able to upgrade software keeping in mind feedback from previous software releases.
  • Choice of applications. This allows flexibility for cloud users to experiment and choose the best option for their needs. Cloud computing also allows a business to use, access and pay only for what they use, with a fast implementation time.
  • Potential to be greener and more economical – the average amount of energy needed for a computational action carried out in the cloud is far less than the average amount for an on-site deployment. This is because different organisations can share the same physical resources securely, leading to more efficient use of the shared resources.
  • Flexibility – cloud computing allows users to switch applications easily and rapidly, using the one that suits their needs best. However, migrating data between applications can be an issue.

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As the first commercial user of LawWare back in 1998, we have had no hesitation in remaining with the product through its development. We thoroughly recommend it to any firm looking for a practice management system.

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I can’t imagine trying to be a law firm in the 21st Century without 21st Century IT systems. Having a ‘single system’ that underpins all the work, whether we are in the office or out, is an integral part of what we are building.

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The level of support is the main benefit using this system.  The system itself once you have had training is simple and easy to use. We have a great relationship with LawWare and the ongoing support is second to none.      

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Sharon Rodger

Significant preparation was required to configure and import the data from our old firm. We had to get all clients onto the new system and then learn how to use it. We just find it very easy to use, much easier than our old system.

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It’s a big help that you can speak to the boss directly. The support team takes a lot of the technological stress away and, as LawWare continues to build relationships and integrations with other suppliers, it makes our life much easier.

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Matthew Cohen

Being a busy litigator with a growing firm it is incredibly useful to be able to view my files from any location with some form of internet connection. I am a fan, and want to keep working with LawWare to make a good product great.

Helix Law Limited
Jonathan Waters

The switch to the new LawCloud system, which is still on-going, has gone very well. We found the LawWare team without exception to be very helpful and knowledgeable. All queries are followed up and dealt with promptly.

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